While the defending National League West champion Arizona Diamondbacks have added a significant punch to both of their starting rotation and their bullpen in one move, the Oakland Athletics have acquired 3 significant prospects to replenish (at least temporarily)their depleted farm system. Late Friday afternoon the A’s sent starting pitcher Trevor Cahill along with relief pitcher Craig Breslow to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for starting pitcher Jarrod Parker, who came in #3 on are Diamondbacks’ top 10 prospects list for 2012, outfielder Collin Cowgill, who was #5, and relief pitcher Ryan Cook.
The 23-year-old SP Trevor Cahill, who by most accounts had a season far below what he’s capable of. He posted a 12-14 mark with 4.16 ERA and a 147/82 K/BB rate over 207.2 innings in 2012. A switch to the National League, where he can slide in right behind Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson will probably be what the doctor ordered for Cahill. He goes from a team that was ranked 24th in baseball offensively to a team ranked 19th in 2011. On the other side of the ball, and this is significant, he goes from the A’s who played woeful defense and ranked next-to-last (29th) in team defense to the Diamondbacks, who by many accounts, won the west with pitching and defense, that ranked 7th in baseball. He’s also under team control through 2015, with 2 team options for 2016 and 2017. A nice move for Kirk Gibson’s crew.
The 31-year-old RP Craig Breslow is coming off a season where he went 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA and a 44/21 K/BB rate over 59.1 innings in 2011. The arbitration eligible lefty looks like he was a potential salary dump for the A’s, who picked up a cheaper RP in this deal. Breslow looks to be a key part of the Diamondbacks bullpen in 2012.
As I mentioned, SP Jarrod Parker and OF Collin Cowgill, made up a good chunk of the upper-half of our 2012 Diamondbacks top 10 list for 2012. A revision of that list with be forthcoming shortly. Here’s a look at what we had to say about Parker and Cowgill, who will obviously rank even higher on our upcoming Oakland Athletics top 10 prospect list for 2012. We will also take a look at what the A’s got in RP Ryan Cook.
Jarrod Parker, RHP 11/24/1988 H: 6’1 W: 195 lbs – Parker has been a top prospect since being drafted. Even through his elbow injury, TJ surgery and rehab. He has a mid 90s fastball and before the surgery his command graded out as above average. Even though his fastball is plus, his slider grades out as even better. His changeup is close to a plus pitch as well.
Our Instinct – Only his command is holding him back from making the jump to the next level. He’ll be two years removed from TJ in 2012. Expect his arrival in Arizona at the end of 2011 to be permanent.
On that note, it seems even more likely that Parker starts the 2012 season with the Athletics’ major league club. Check out our breakdown of Parker in our Prospect Instinct|Jarrod Parker article from October.
Collin Cowgill, OF 5/22/1986 H: 5’9 W: 185 lbs – The Kentucky product has been on our radar for years and he’s the type of player that just has never gone away even though his size and skill set never pointed to more than a 4th OF. But he just keeps producing and this 2011 season was his best yet. He upped his walk rate to 11% while keeping his K rate below 20%. His .200 IsoP and .354 AVG were both career highs.
Our Instinct – The average was boosted by a very high .397 BABIP but even at that level I’m now confident that Cowgill will be a .285 hitter with both average power and speed. But he still might slot better as a 4th OF long-term.
As with Parker, don’t miss our breakdown of Cowgill in our Prospect Instinct|Collin Cowgill article from back in August.
Finally, there’s RP Ryan Cook, who didn’t make the Diamondbacks Top 10 prospect list by any means, and won’t make the A’s list either. That doesn’t mean Cook doesn’t come with no value. First of all, he’s going to provide about the same value to the A’s, all be it from the right side, as Breslow did for around a quarter of the cost and is seven years younger.
Cook didn’t look real great in his debut with the Diamondbacks in 2011. He had a bloated ERA of 7.04 and walked over a batter an inning. The good news it was just 7.2 innings and posted a sub 2.25 ERA and a 62/22 K/B rate over 61 innings between AA and AAA last season. He throws a changeup, slider, and a curve to go with a 93-94 mph fastball.
It’s too early to declare a hands down winner in this deal. My sense though is that the Athletics fans, who are tired of waiving the white flag aren’t pleased. To that we say don’t give up on this deal just yet. While it’s reasonable to think that Cahill will bounce back in 2012 regardless if he was still in Oakland, we feel that Parker still has the potential to be a front line pitcher. If that happens and Cowgill can carry over his minor league production to the A’s big league club and avoid the 4th outfielder tag, this deal will look a lot different to everyone a year or two down the line.
Check back soon as we profile more Top 10 Lists for each MLB team and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at a recent article in this series: Los Angeles Dodgers Top 10 List and be a step ahead of the game. Also, check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.